Politicians pay tribute to Mudge

27 August 2020 | Others

Windhoek · [email protected]

Leaders across the spectrum of Namibian politics have honoured veteran politician Dirk Mudge, who died yesterday at the age of 92.


Dirk Mudge, veteran politician and founder of Democratic Media Holdings, the forerunner of Namibia Media Holdings, passed away peacefully in a Windhoek hospital at around 04:00 yesterday morning.

Mudge's family had previously confirmed he was being treated for Covid-19.

Mudge served in several high-ranking positions in the South African administration of South West Africa, was the chairman of the 1975-1977 Turnhalle Constitutional Conference, and co-founded the Republican Party (RP) of Namibia as well as the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), now known as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).

Giant role

President Hage Geingob yesterday said Mudge had played a giant role in nation building.

State House spokesman Alfredo Hengari said the president was saddened by the news of Mudge's death.

“Although we represented different political backgrounds and ideals, I got to know Dirk Mudge during the drafting of our constitution in 1989 as a leader who was prepared to compromise in the interest of peace and a new Namibia,” the head of state said.

“I always say one doesn't make peace with your friends – you make peace with your enemies. Our transition to independence was fraught with risks that could threaten our peace.

“With a leader of Mudge's calibre on the opposing side, though, we in Swapo were able to settle our differences with him and when we reached a compromise, he kept his word. In that sense he was a peacemaker and a principled man during a critical time of our history.”

Andrew Matjila, who also formed part of the Constituent Assembly, described Mudge as a very dedicated man.

“He worked for the independence of this country. He was committed to Namibian politics. He assured everyone that Namibia would one day be free and independent,” Matjila said.

He said it was fitting that Mudge died on Heroes' Day.

“This shows that he was a hero. He died on a very auspicious day,” Matjila said.]

Cool and collected

Former prime minister Nahas Angula recalled how calm Mudge remained during the tense process of drafting the constitution.

“We could listen to one another despite our differences. He was passionate about the way we wrote the constitution,” Angula said.

Mudge was by far the best orator in the opposition benches, said Nico Smit of the PDM.

“He had an unbelievable political mind. He was a politician like few others.”

Regarding Mudge's role in the transition period, Smit said: “He was the man who set the tone. He played an immensely important role. We owe Mudge a huge debt when it comes to our democratic constitution.”

Enigmatic

Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro, who was the youngest member of the Constituent Assembly, said: “Dirk Mudge will be remembered as an enigma, a paradox and the deft chameleon of Namibian politics.”

“A white man who started his political career as part of the oppressive and racist apartheid regime of South Africa; who then became the big conciliator of black and white after reaching out to his black countrymen – a move that enraged many of his white supporters; and, finally, he joined the cream of Namibia's sons and daughters who created our country's democratic constitution.”

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